Arsenal: 4 Ways Gunners Can Cement a Top-Four Finish This Season
Who needs Robin when you’ve got Santi? And Lukas? And Abou?
And what a three points.
Sure, it was an underwhelming and profligate Liverpool that took to the pitch, but Arsenal put on a masterclass to show why they are the English Premier League’s most stylish team, with Podolski and Cazorla dovetailing to perfection and assisting each other’s goals.
It was a tantalizing glimpse into Arsenal’s newest future under Arsene Wenger.
Here are four ways the Gunners can turn this display into a top-four finish this season—perhaps even silverware—and, as usual, feel free to have your say in the comments below.
Keep Diaby Fit and Performing Consisently
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Abou Diaby is an enigma.
Most times (certainly last season), he is injured.
Other times, he is woeful.
But there are times that show a glimpse of what he is capable of and why Wenger trusts him so much, times that show just a shade of Patrick Vieira in his pomp.
Sunday was one of those times.
The challenge now, as ever, is to keep him fit and performing to a consistent level.
Diaby seemed at home in a deeper midfield partnership alongside Mikel Arteta.
If this is the partnership that will unlock Diaby’s potential, Wenger should stick with it and hope he can finally maintain a high performance level over the course of the season.
Ensure Cazorla Doesn’t Burn out
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Just as important, if not more so, is keeping Santi Cazorla at peak fitness.
He has already come in and set the Emirates alight, and at a reported £15 million, will prove to be one of the best signings of the season.
His tight ball control and exquisite vision will unlock many a Premier League defence this season and, if new strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud find their shooting boots, will also notch a good handful of assists this term.
But Wenger must not over-rely on his services in just his debut season for Arsenal.
Rotation will be key to keeping Cazorla fit and firing—and Wenger is a master of that.
Make Sure Wilshere Returns to Full Fitness Soon
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Hugely aiding Cazorla’s cause—and Arsenal’s quest for silverware—will be the return of Jack Wilshere.
If he doesn’t keep succumbing to injuries, that is.
The fact that he was awarded van Persie’s No. 10 shirt over the summer is a testament to Wilshere’s ability and the expectations that Wenger and the club have in him.
His versatility, passing game and goal-scoring ability suit Arsenal to the ground, and his return to the side will give Wenger a chance to partner two of the most exciting attacking midfielders in the league.
A midfield quartet of Diaby, Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla looks menacing and might just give other competitors a run for their money.
If they stay fully fit, perhaps Wenger’s decision to let Alex Song go might even be vindicated.
Try Podolski as Main Striker If Giroud Doesn’t Fire
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But, as Liverpool will know, having a midfield capable of creating goal-scoring chances isn’t enough.
The key is to have someone finish them off.
In Arsenal’s first two games, Olivier Giroud, top scorer of Ligue 1 last season with Montpellier, displayed some wasteful finishing that contributed to their goalless draws.
And with Giroud playing as the lone striker, Podolski has taken up a left forward role to great aplomb, and has displayed the kind of work ethic in tracking back that will endear him to the Emirates faithful.
Giroud will be afforded more time to bed into the Arsenal setup, but there will come a time when goals, not Giroud, are not important.
If he still hasn’t found his shooting boots by then, Wenger should consider Podolski as his main striker.
After all, his last left-forward-turned-lone-striker didn’t do too badly.
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What do you think? Did Arsenal’s display against Liverpool promise plenty for the future, or is this a mere overreaction?
More importantly, will the new Arsenal finally be able to bring home some silverware?
Let us know in the comments below.
Also check out: Ranking All 20 EPL Teams’ Summer Transfer Windows